Tuesday, February 9, 2016

valentines day inspiration

For me Valentine's day is about the family, doing something small to remind them how much I love them.  A pretty dinner table, a surprise card, a unexpected treat in a lunchbox.  I really believe you shouldn't wait for a holiday to tell the people you love just how special they are.  Ok, so I will get off my high horse about commercial holidays, and focus on the crazy cute ideas out there which would make any day a bit more special.

I adore this heart shaped breakfast by Homey Oh My!!!  Adore!!!  This one is a keeper and I will so be doing the fruit this Valentine's Day breakfast.

The cutest Star Wars inspired Valentine's by Mad in Crafts, perfect for my Star Wars mad family.

My favourite way to celebrate the day is by doing a special table setting, even if it is just a bunch of flowers.  This is a Valentine's table from a few years ago.  A trip to your local $2 store and you will have everything you need, and it may look complicated but you can make this chandelier in about half an hour.

This year I am being inspired by these rather gorgeous disco ball balloon weights by A Bubbly Life, wouldn't this make a cute and simple table setting!  Bling it on.  Ha ha, tragic I know, laughing at your own jokes.

Cherish those you love, that is the important thing.  

Friday, February 5, 2016

amazing laundry makeover & grout test

Another amazing diy reveal from one of my most fave bloggers, Vintage Revivals.  This time Mandy tackled her laundry and let me tell you the before and after is pretty amazing.  Vintage Revivals is a blog you should visit often, the designs are inspiring, the tutorials informative, Mandy is always full of great ideas and very funny.

What I love most about Mandy's posts is that she goes into great detail about the process, the good and the bad.  Like this great grout colour test below that goes with the laundry room reveal.  I have only shared two of the 6 or 7 grout colours she tested.  I know, she is pretty amazing.

Pop over to see the rest of the great photo's and ideas.  This is making me very inspired for the Currawong Cottage laundry which needs a redo badly.  It is pretty much still in the terrible condition we bought it in, which is bad!!  At least the roof isn't leaking anymore.

When you visit Vintage Revivals make sure you check out the Nugget series which covers the amazing renovation of a vintage caravan.  Watch this space, Currawong may have a caravan parked in the orchard soon.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

iliui upcycled lights from tomato tins

Been a little caught up in Miss J starting school for the first time, but did stumble across these gorgeous upcycle dreams from ILIUI the other day.  I would love a mint green wall sconce for Miss J's room, which has a mint and pink thing going on right now.

I have always liked upcycled can's, they have such a great simple but functional shape, but really the humble tomato can has never looked better.

Check out all the variations on colours and styles at the ILIUI Etsy shop.  All images by ILIUI except for top right which shows the lamp styled on Passion Shake

Thursday, January 28, 2016

diy mid century modern entrance light

Finding the right design has been really tricky for several reasons, mainly that everything we liked was had a price tag in the thousands.  Also, even with ceilings of 2.7m your really need a flush mount light or it hangs to low.  The final design was made by the talented Mr B, seriously how amazing is he. 

I saw something similar online made from cast iron, very pretty, very expensive, and very heavy.  Mr B made this one from wood and then finished it with a rust effect paint finish.  Much cheaper, much lighter to hang, and easier to work with as you create the design.

Mr B lost me at stage one of this build, but I can tell you it is made from strips of wood, glued or slotted together to create the sculpture.  
Mr B made a ceiling sconce to match that covers the electrical point, hides the cables, and creates a structure that the light hangs from.  You can just see the four suspension wires at the corners of the ceiling sconce.  A sheet of frosted acrylic diffuses the light, which is created by a LED rope from Ikea that runs around the interior.

If any of you have questions about the construction leave a comment and I will get a reply to you.

It looks amazing!  Very high end and just the right sculptural look for our modern home.  At night it glows and throws fabulous shadows on the ceiling.

This one took a lot of time, mainly because we had the concept but no fixed plan, but it ended up costing only a few hundred dollars, plus it is totally perfect for the space.

Monday, January 25, 2016

linen bedding..which is the brand for you?

Are you trying to decide which linen brand to buy?  I have done the agonising for you, today I am sharing the best buy for your dollar.  Luxe for less, that is what we all love right.

I love so many things about linen bedding: the way it is warm but never too hot, the gorgeous crushed look - no ironing required, the fact that you can tumble dry it.
The one thing I don't love is the price!  It is expensive!!  

Brands I have tried personally:
  • Sheridan Abbotson: my top pick.  It is very soft, washes and tumble dries beautifully, and well worth buying on sale.  It is pricey ($529 for a king duvet cover) but there are often 40% sales that are worth waiting for.  I have a flat sheet and pillow cases from this range and I adore them.
  • Adairs Vintage Washed: I bought a duvet cover from this range, it was fairly good value ($329 for a king duvet cover) and is lovely and soft, but the quality is just not the same as the Sheridan product.  Comes in some really pretty colours. I would buy it for the kids or the spare room, but not for my own bed.
  • Ikea Linblomma: a great price at $139 for a duvet and 4 pillowcases.  I bought a set for afew months ago and it is nowhere near are soft as the other products.  It does seem to be getting softer each time I wash it, but after quite a few washes it is still a bit rougher than the other ones.  It also dries a with a more creased less tumbled look.  A good one to buy while you save up for something better.
  • Yves Delorme: I can't find the specific range I bought anymore, but the quality is lovely.  Soft but with a lovely weight and it washes beautifully.  It was extremelly expensive, I only bought mine because it was massively discounted in post Christmas sales.  I can't justify the additional cost over the Sheridan.
  • Pottery Barn:  I bought a pair of these gorgeous crochet trim pillow covers a few years ago.  A gorgeous soft product and I love the crochet detail.  Similar price to the Sheridan.  I would buy more of these but they no longer seem to be available in Australia.

At the end of the day the Sheridan Abbotson range wins out for me.  It is a gorgeous product.  And if you catch it on sale you are getting a great deal.

There are lots of other products out there:

As you can see above even the curtains in my bedroom are linen, and both the accent cushions on the bed are too.  Slightly obsessed as I said before.
Do you have any favourite brands? I would love to hear your top picks and best value buys.  

Monday, January 18, 2016

birthday lunch....casual entertaining

I had to use my lovely birthday plates - from Mud Australia - for my birthday lunch.  Delicious Balmain bugs and champagne which I think should definitely start a birthday bubbles & bugs tradition.   Pink glasses from Ikea, white flowers, and a sprig of scented pelargonium picked from the garden with the cutlery.  Quick, casual, but very pretty.

The cloth is a piece of fabric bought years ago for cushions that I never made.  I do find pretty fabric hard to resist.  Just 1.5m x 1.5m creates a perfect runner for the center of the table, just the right size for a table of 4.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

trends 2016

It should never be a case of out with the old and in with the new, rather the addition of layers, and editing of spaces.
It's that time of year again, looking at trends for 2016.  You can't look forward without looking backwards, see what I forecast for 2015 here.  I definitely got brass being the new copper!  I remember feeling last year that nothing much had changed, but this year I feel a definite shift in direction.  Yes all things textural and earthy will still be hip, but there is a definite shift back to paler wood tones teamed with pastel shades.  I picked rose pink last year, Pantone selected Rose quartz for 2016, and this suits the direction I see us heading in.  Soft pared back glamour, pastels, greys, and lighter woods matched up with brushed metals, marble and travertine, polished cement and lalique style glass.  Art choices will be softer, less reliant on graphic shapes and high contrast colours.  It isn't a total move away from the Scandinavian theme that has been so big, more a softening of the contrasts and warming of colour tones.

Ofcourse your own style should always be personal, cherry picking the current trends for objects you love, choosing designs that impact positively on how you live your life.  It should never be a case of out with the old and in with the new, rather the addition of layers and editing of spaces.  In this world of more information, more choices, more products, curating has become singularly important.  
In our homes we need to be curators too, actively choosing what interests and inspires us, and editing the choices of the past.  So keep those gorgeous ben ourani carpets and kelim rugs, your brass objet and marble coffee tables, but be selective about what you add, and edit what you already own. 

Credits top row: cement encaustic tile, cement look ceramic tile, white floor living room
Row 2: white metal coffee table (at left) and side table (at right), antler knob (center) - all from Anthropologie
Row 3: bedroom detail from Veda house, kelim rug, Yokata wall basin set from Brodware
Row 4: linen by Hale Mercantile Co, detail of bathroom with travertine
Row 5: Stella cushion by Hale Mercantile Co, coffee table   

Friday, December 18, 2015

best products for a summer of diy

If you are planning to diy this summer make your life easier with my fave diy products.  Put them on your Christmas list, or treat yourself and invest in the time savings these products will deliver.  You are going to thank me.

Dulux Rapid Finish - "why brush if you can spray"
Best tool ever for painting outdoor walls and fences.   At Currawong Cottage we painted the entire cottage, one side took one day with a roller and brush, the other THREE sides took half a day.  Yes it takes time to tape everything up really well, but it always does, and once the taping is done the painting is super fast.  Super fast!  See all the details here.  Would replace this in a heart beat.

Worx High Pressure Cleaner
Who knew cleaning could be so satisfying.  Our outdoors has never been so clean because seriously I can't wait to get this piece of kit out.  No more bird poo graffiti on the walls or cars, no more moss, no more dirty or mossy tiles.  It is easy to use, light to carry around, another must have tool for your shed.

Ryobi Nail Gun
I love this tool but seriously Mr B loves it even more.  We have hired loads over the years and this one is a goodie, light to use and a long charge on the battery.  I used it to make frames, Mr B used it to reclad the Currawong Cottage entrance area with weatherboard.  Putting up a fence, attaching new skirting boards, building a veggie patch - all to easy with the Airstrike.

Annie Sloan Chalk Paints (TM)
You know that furniture you have been putting of restoring?  This summer you are going to get it done!!  No priming, no sanding, quick drying, great colours.  Paris Grey and Old White are my fave so far.  Make sure you finish with the clear wax for a really professional finish.
See my ebay bargain makeover (detail of the handle below), the dipped basket diy, and this vase makeover below.  The vase was a great shape but a really loud red bamboo finish which needed an update.  A few coats of Paris Grey later and up cycling success achieved!
It really is that easy, I promise, just try it!

Are you getting excited yet?  Give them a try, then tell us all about it, we want to share the fun.


Thursday, December 17, 2015

a pretty faux wreath by balsam hill

How pretty is this gorgeous Norway Spruce Wreath from Balsam Hill.  I particularly love that it is very simple, decorated with just a few fairy lights.  It adds the perfect Christmas touch to my outdoor table which we use often in early summer, especially with the lights turned on in the early evening.  

Of course you could decorate the wreath with extra baubles and ribbon, but I am really loving the simplicity this year.  
The battery pack is easy to hide under the wreath, comes with a timer so you can set and forget, and of course no wilting.

Pop to the Balsam Hill site to see all their other lovely goodies, I really like the look of this Frosted Fraser Fir tree or the Noble Fir.   

It was super hard to take a photo where the candle wasn't overexposed but I am sure you get the picture.  This wreath is just big enough for a large candle to sit inside, so pretty!

Thanks Balsam Hill for this lovely Christmas gift, and the best thing is it can be put away and used again next year.